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Emma was born on January 2, 1836 in Honolulu and was often called Emalani ("royal Emma"). Her father was High Chief George Na ʻ ea and her mother was High Chiefess Fanny Kekelaokalani Young.[3] She was adopted under the Hawaiian tradition of hānai by her childless maternal aunt, chiefess Grace Kama ʻ iku ʻ i Young Rooke, and her husband, Dr. Thomas C. B. Rooke.

Emma's father Na ʻ ea was the son of High Chief Kamaunu and High Chiefess Kukaeleiki.[4] Kukaeleiki was daughter of Kalauawa, a Kaua ʻ i noble, and she was a cousin of Queen Keōpūolani, the most sacred wife of Kamehameha I. Among Na ʻ ea's more notable ancestors were Kalanawa ʻ a, a high chief of O ʻ ahu, and High Chiefess Kuaenaokalani, who held the sacred kapu rank of Kekapupo ʻ oho ʻ olewaikala (so sacred that she could not be exposed to the sun except at dawn).[5]:4

[imagelink] Emma and her hānai parents.

On her mother's side, Emma was the granddaughter of John Young, Kamehameha I's British-born military advisor known as High Chief Olohana, and Princess Ka ʻ ōana ʻ eha Kuamo ʻ o.[6] Her maternal grandmother, Ka ʻ ōana ʻ eha, was generally called the niece of Kamehameha I. Chiefess Ka ʻ ōana ʻ eha's father is disputed; some say she was the daughter of Prince Keli ʻ imaika ʻ i, the only full brother of Kamehameha; others state Ka ʻ ōana ʻ eha's father was High Chief Kalaipaihala.[7][8] This confusion is due to the fact that High Chiefess Kaliko ʻ okalani, the mother of Ka ʻ ōana ʻ eha, married both to Keli ʻ imaika ʻ i and to Kalaipaihala. Through High Chief Kalaipaihala, she could be descended from Kalani ʻ opu ʻ u, King of Hawaii before Kīwalaʻō and Kamehameha. King Kalākaua and Queen Lili ʻ uokalani criticized Queen Emma's claim of descent from Kamehameha's brother, supporting the latter theory of descent. Lili ʻ uokalani claimed that Keli ʻ imaika ʻ i had no children, and that Kiilaweau, Keli ʻ imaika ʻ i's first wife, was a man.[9]:404 This was to strengthen their claim to the throne, since their great-grandfather was Kamehameha I's first cousin. But even through the second theory Queen Emma would still have been descendant of Kamehameha I's first cousin since Kalani ʻ opu ʻ u was the uncle of Kamehameha I.[5]:357–358 It can be noted that one historian of the time, Samuel Kamakau,[10] supported Queen Emma's descent from Keli ʻ imaika ʻ i and the genealogy stated by Liliuokalani have been contested in her own lifetime.[11]

Emma grew up at her foster parents' English mansion, the Rooke House, in Honolulu. Emma was educated at the Royal School, which was established by American missionaries. Other Hawaiian royals attending the school included Emma's half-sister Mary Pa ʻ a ʻ āina. Like her classmates Bernice Pauahi Bishop, David Kalākaua and Lydia Lili ʻ uokalani, Emma was cross-cultural — both Hawaiian and Euro-American in her habits. But she often found herself at odds with her peers. Unlike many of them, she was neither romantic nor prone to hyperbole.[ citation needed ] When the school closed, Dr. Rooke hired an English governess, Sarah Rhodes von Pfister, to tutor the young Emma. He also encouraged reading from his extensive library. As a writer, he influenced Emma's interest in reading and books. By the time she was 20, she was an accomplished young woman. She was 5' 2" and slender, with large black eyes. Her musical talents as a vocalist, pianist and dancer were well known. She was also a skilled equestrian.

Married life and reign [ edit ]

[imagelink] Emma and Queen Victoria silver christening cup [imagelink] Emma and Kamehameha IV

Emma became engaged to the king of Hawaii, Alexander Liholiho. At the engagement party, a Hawaiian charged that Emma's Caucasian blood made her unfit to be the Hawaiian queen and her lineage was not suitable enough to be Alexander Liholiho's bride; she broke into tears and the king was infuriated. On June 19, 1856, she married Alexander Liholiho, who a year earlier had assumed the throne as Kamehameha IV. He was also fluent in both Hawaiian and English. Each nation and even the Chinese hosted balls and celebrations in honor of the newlyweds. Two years later on May 20, 1858 Emma gave birth to a son, Prince Albert Edward Kamehameha.

During her reign, the queen tended palace affairs, including the expansion of the palace library. During her reign and after, she was known for her humanitarian efforts. Inspired by her adoptive father's work, she encouraged her husband to establish a public hospital to help the Native Hawaiians who were in decline due to foreign-borne diseases like smallpox. In 1859, Emma established Queen's Hospital and visited patients there almost daily whenever she was in residence in Honolulu. It is now called the Queen's Medical Center.

Prince Albert, who was always called "Baby" by Emma, had been celebrated for days at his birth and every public appearance. Mary Allen, wife of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Elisha Hunt Allen, had a son Frederick about the same age, and they became playmates. In 1862, Queen Victoria agreed to become godmother by proxy, and sent an elaborate silver christening cup. Before the cup could arrive, the prince fell ill in August and condition worsened. The Prince died on August 27, 1862. Her husband died a year later, and Emma would not have any more children.[12]

Names [ edit ]

After her son's death and before her husband's death, she was referred to as "Kaleleokalani", or "flight of the heavenly one". After her husband also died, it was changed into the plural form as "Kaleleolani", or the "flight of the heavenly ones". She was baptized into the Anglican faith on October 21, 1862 as "Emma Alexandrina Francis Agnes Lowder Byde Rook Young Kaleleokalani.[5]:152

Queen Emma was also nicknamed "Wahine Holo Lio" in deference to her renowned horsemanship.

Religious legacy [ edit ]

[imagelink] Laying of the cornerstone of St. Andrew's Cathedral in 1867

In 1860, Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV petitioned the Church of England to help establish the Church of Hawaii. Upon the arrival of Anglican bishop Thomas Nettleship Staley and two priests, they both were baptized on October 21, 1862 and confirmed in November 1862. With her husband, she championed the Anglican (Episcopal) church in Hawaii and founded St. Andrew’s Cathedral, raising funds for the building. In 1867 she founded Saint Andrew's Priory School for Girls.[13] She also laid the groundwork for an Episcopal secondary school for boys originally named for Saint Alban, and later ʻ Iolani School in honor of her husband. Emma and King Kamehameha IV are honored with a feast day of November 28 on the liturgical calendar of the U.S. Episcopal Church.[14][15]

Royal election of 1874 [ edit ]

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